Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and head of the Los Angeles-based ’ Simon Wiesenthal Center who delivered a benediction at U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration, has criticized the White House's statement on International Holocaust Memorial Day, which did not mention Jewish victims specifically.
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Hier called the statement a mistake.
"I do not accuse President Trump of wanting to dishonor the memory of the victims of the Holocaust who were Jewish, but it was a mistake," CNN reported Hier as saying on Tuesday.
The Wiesenthal Center called for the White House statement to be "updated to specifically mention the 6 million Jewish victims of the Nazis."
"It was against Jews and the Jews alone that the genocidal Final Solution was unleashed by the Nazis during the WWII Holocaust. That tragic fact should be reflected in the White House statement on International Holocaust Memorial Day," the center said.
Removing any mention of Jews from the commemoration of the Holocaust is dangerous. CNN quoted Hier as saying.
"The Final Solution was not planned against Gypsies. The Final Solution was not planned against homosexuals. It was not planned against any group other than Jews," he said. "Of course there were many victims who were non-Jews. But the principle objective of Adolf Hitler was to do away with Europe's Jews."
While Hier said he had no idea how the White House statement was drafted and who wrote it, he attributed it to a "rookie mistake" and not malice. "From here on in, hopefully they'll correct it," Hier said according to CNN.
The Wiesenthal Center also issued a statement this week against Trump's ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations: "There should be no blanket ban on entry to the United States based on nationality, religion, or ethnicity."
White House press secretary Sean Spicer has defended the Holocaust Day statement telling reporters it "was written with the help of an individual who is both Jewish and the descendant of Holocaust survivors.”
Spicer also said that complaints, including from major U.S. Jewish groups, about the omission of Jews from the statement issued Friday were “pathetic” and “disappointing.”